Bicycle Association provides cash to DfT-funded active-travel-to-school award

Transport minister Baroness Kramer has welcomed industry funding for Modeshift’s STARS programme.

The Bicycle Association has provided £10,000 to help support Modeshift’s STARS programme that aims to get more kids cycling and walking to school. The programme is majority funded by the Department for Transport. STARS stands for Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools.

Modeshift’s STAR programme awards schools bronze, silver or gold stars according to how effective they are at persuading pupils to choose greener and healthier ways of getting to and from school.

Around 5,000 schools already follow the scheme. At the Modeshift conference in Birmingham Baroness Kramer revealed that the Department for Transport would provide funding of nearly £200,000. This will allow a further 19,000 schools to sign up to the programme for free until March 2016.

Baroness Kramer said:

“We all know that walking or cycling is good for your health and better for the environment than jumping into a car. That is why I am delighted to support this programme, which incentivises youngsters to choose a healthier route to school.”

Modeshift will be working with Living Streets to look at ways to increase walking to school. The Bicycle Association’s £10,000 will go towards towards prizes for schools taking part in the project, which is overseen by Durham County Council.

Making the school run safer for kids could halt the inactivity pandemic

A new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Primary Care & Public Health has stated that England’s inactivity pandemic, through its resulting diseases, is responsible for 17 percent of premature deaths and costs the National Health Service an estimated £10bn a year in treatment. Sustrans believes it has a solution…

Philip Insall, Director of Health for Sustrans, said:

“This report shows how health sector leaders need to think outside the box of traditional healthcare spending, and shift it towards health promotion rather than disease treatment.’

“Fixing this inactivity pandemic will require us to incorporate physical activity into everything we do in our daily lives.”

The report states that a physical activity culture change in the general public could save 37,000 lives per year.

Insall agreed:

“Good habits start young. We really must encourage children to be more active as part of their normal daily life, and for most children that should include walking or cycling to school.’

“This means making the school run safer – through 20mph speed limits and more investment in walking and cycle infrastructure, rather than spending on motor transport. Health sector leaders are well placed to advocate for that change, as the All Party Group has done.”

Bike Week event registration goes live

Event organisers can now register their events on new smartphone-friendly website.

Bike Week is an annual celebration of cycling, first held in 1923. The Bike Week website has been overhauled and is now smartphone- and tablet-friendly. Event registration is now open.

In previous years, Bike Week events – such as bike breakfasts, family rides and Dr. Bike sessions – have been organised by local authorities, health promotion units, bike-friendly employers and bike shops.

The 2014 Bike Week will be held 14th-22nd June.

Sustrans-developed “Personalised Travel Planning” goes Euro-wide

A Sustrans-developed programme to get people out of cars and to start using more sustainable methods of urban transport, and which was first trialled in Bristol, has been rolled out to five European cities, with 50 more expected to join in.

“Personalised travel planning” takes the form of promotions and one-on-one travel advice to show motorists that many of the journeys they think can only be done by car can, in fact, be easily done by bike, on foot or on public transport. Developed more than ten years ago by Sustrans, personalised travel planning can lead to an 11 percent reduction in car trips and increases in walking, cycling and public transport trips of between 15 and 33 percent. Sustrans found that many motorists don’t research travel alternatives but once they’re armed with information, many switch to the more sustainable forms of transport. Personalised travel planners do the legwork for motorists, pointing out bus stops and bus routes, bike route networks and walking short-cuts. Sustrans discovered that many motorists may have excellent bus services on their doorsteps, or direct cycle routes, but despite obvious proximity, motorists still didn’t know the services and routes existed.

Antwerp, which already has a cycle modal share of 25 percent, is one of the cities now working with PTP-Cycle – Personalised Travel Planning for Cycling – a project co-funded by the Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme granted by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI).

Steven Windey from Antwerp’s Department of Mobility, said:

“In the framework of the city’s “Masterplan 2020”, Antwerp wants to realise a modal split of 50/50 sustainable versus non sustainable transport modes by the year 2020. Hence the city is investing a lot in cycling infrastructure and parking facilities and infrastructure for public transport. At the same time, it’s very important to encourage citizens to use the new or improved infrastructure and facilities.”

PTP-Cycle is the first pan-European PTP Delivery Programme, and aims to transfer know-how to a larger audience of European cities. PTP-Cycle is targeting cities which already have a “high propensity to cycle” but where, nevertheless, cycle usage remains low. One of the methods used to get motorists out of their cars is the “cycle buddy” approach where a personalised travel planner will plan a cycle route for a motorist and then take the motorist on the ride to show how it’s nowhere near as daunting as the motorist might have feared. Personalised travel planning is expensive but effective.

PTP begins with personal contact, by telephone, on the doorstep, at work or via events, with the target population. This initial contact enables the target population to be ‘segmented’ into three main groups: existing regular users of sustainable travel modes; non-regular users who are interested in receiving information on alternatives to the car, and those who are not interested in taking part.

Participants in the interested group receive a PTP order form enabling them to choose from a range of local travel information materials and other services such as intensive one on one advice sessions, local bike maintenance sessions and led-rides.

Currently PTP-Cycle is working in Antwerp in Belgium; Riga in Latvia; Greenwich and Haringey in London; Burgos in Spain; and Ljubjana in Slovenia.

Northampton to get a city bike scheme

Northampton is to install a bicycle hire scheme. The £150,000 scheme is initially providing 50 bikes for public hire from 10 docking sites inside and outside the borough.

The hire system is entirely automatic and the bicycles will be available to hire at any time of the day, seven days a week.Northamptonshire County Council, in partnership with Northampton Borough Council, appointed Hourbike as the winning bidder for the scheme.

Provision has been made in the contract with Hourbike to expand the scheme to further locations within the town, depending on the success of the scheme and revenue income from the hire process.

The company has experience of operating similar schemes in the UK, including in Dumfries, Nottingham, Lincoln and Southport. Hourbike also provided key assistance to Moscow’s bike hire scheme, which achieved 10,000 rentals in its first month.

Councillor Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “This scheme is tremendous news for the town for a whole variety of reasons. Cycling is becoming increasingly popular as a mode of transport and we’re gradually improving the dedicated cycling infrastructure as funding allows.

“Not only is cycling beneficial in terms of health improvements but by getting more people cycling it helps reduce traffic congestion and associated air pollution.”

Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “With cycle-hire proving to be popular in other areas of the country, we look forward to welcoming this scheme to Northampton for locals and visitors to enjoy. The scheme will be a great benefit to the town, attracting more people and encouraging them to get active. We hope that everyone will take advantage of this great facility.”

The County Council is offering residents of Northamptonshire the opportunity to come up with the official name for the bicycle hire scheme. The competition prize is an iPad mini and a VIP invitation to the official launch event in May.The name of the scheme will ideally be one-word long, and essentially catchy and memorable, giving a positive message and if possible a local connotation.


The competition closes on Wednesday 19th February 2014 and the winning entry will be judged by the Leaders of the County and Borough Councils.